Friday, May 9, 2014

Vegetable Beds Update

Between the last post and this one (early last week?), we got a ton of rain.  I can't recall the exact numbers, but somewhere around 11 or 12 inches, I think, in about a 24-hour period.

We're lucky that most of our yard drains pretty quickly-- due more to sloping than to soil quality (because we have our share of heavy clay), but we'll take what we can get.  ;o)

We didn't have too much standing water, but there were a few puddles and maybe one spot of very slight erosion (on the corner of the pad where the grass and even weeds haven't really taken hold).  The worst damage (evident so far, at least) was to some newly planted daylily seeds.  I'm afraid that some of them washed around a bit.  I tried to repair the damage, but I'm a little skeptical.  If we try again next year, I'll consider putting them in pots, instead of directly in the ground.  (Might've done that this year, but it was already kind of late in the season, and I thought they might be prone to drying out in pots.)

Here's the place we planted the seeds.  (A handful did get put into pots.  I'm hoping we'll get at least a few plants to sprout!  I'd love to have more varieties of daylilies...)

Daylily Planting Ground

The twine is to keep the dogs from digging up the bare soil.  Once they've had a chance to spout and grow a little, I'll put down some mulch and remove the ugly protective barrier.

That's the night-blooming jasmine in the back.  We're still waiting for it to bloom.  I think it's more likely in mid-to-late summer.

The terra-cotta pots have morning glories in them.  Our first batch of morning glories all withered away.  (I think a late cold spell killed them.  Evidently the plastic pots we covered them with wasn't enough protection.)  This new batch is doing much better.  They're the Grandpa Ott variety, which is a really dark, rich purple.  Should be pretty, if we can get them to bloom.  (Last year, our morning glories bloomed very late in the season.)

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Here are the latest photos of our raised vegetable beds. First, the original bed:

Raised Vegetable Beds

Raised Vegetable Beds

Above: Snowpeas, chives, broccoli. 

Raised Vegetable Beds

Yellow squash and zucchini. 

Then the new bed:

Raised Vegetable Beds

Dill, okra (in need of thinning), and tomatoes.  (Also some barely-visible lettuce and bunching onion seedlings-- and a couple of pepper seedlings, in the back, from seeds.  We'll see if they ever catch up to the larger pre-started plants we bought later...)

Raised Vegetable Beds

Tomatoes.  (Donald has since put cages around all of them.  We want to remember to do that earlier next year, to make the job easier.  This time, we simply didn't have the cages on hand, and the tomatoes grew fast.)

Raised Vegetable Beds

More tomatoes.  (And bunching onion and chive seedlings in the small cells up front.)

Raised Vegetable Beds

Tomatoes, peppers, bunching onions in front, regular onions in back.  You have to really look to see them in this photo, but there are tiny, cute little baby peppers!  (A few early-- but still green-- cherry tomatoes are a bit easier to spot.)

Raised Vegetable Beds

Tons of chives and onions.  Swiss chard, mesclun, loose-leaf lettuce, and radishes.  (The "Black Seeded Simpson" lettuce is getting a slow start.  Though I've read that lettuce seed can last two years, the leftovers from last year underperformed, so I've re-sown that row with fresh seed.  It's coming up a bit sporadically.  The mesclun looks ready to start eating, though, so that's good!)

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I happened to read about "kudzu bugs" earlier this week-- something I don't recall hearing about before.  They're another alien invader from Asia.  They made their first appearance in Georgia in 2009, and they're spreading quickly throughout regions where kudzu thrives.  Unfortunately, they don't eat only kudzu (wouldn't that be nice!), but will make a meal of a variety of things.  They're very fond of legumes-- soybeans, for instance.  Actually, from what I've read, it sounds like they'll eat all sorts of plants.  Oh, and they're stink bugs.  And they can invade your home during the colder seasons.  And they can leave stains if squashed.  And some people have allergic reactions to their "juices".  (Gross.)

Well, this afternoon, I spotted some bugs on one of our "Little Gem" magnolias.  "Hm.  That looks familiar..."

Kudzu Bugs

Yep.  I'm pretty sure those are kudzu bugs.

*sigh*  Another darned bug to deal with, as if we didn't already have enough in this humid little bug-haven.  (~soft sobbing~)

Oh well.  I guess we can count on our abundant bugs as a reliable (if undesirable) food source, come the zombie apocalypse.  Maybe save the stinkers for last, though...

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On a prettier, less bug-juicy note, here are the latest photos of flowers around the yard:

Hover over the photo to get arrows, if you want to click through to other photos. :o)